News from the park – Wednesday volunteers

Flower beds

On Wednesday,  the volunteers carried out the usual litter and dog poo picking. We also cleared the flower bed in front of the cafe of the ornamental grasses. This was because they were starting to smother the rose bushes. With this done, we could prune the roses that could not be reached last week.

The bed looks a bit of a mess now but we will tidy it up this coming Wednesday and meanwhile consider what new plants we might put in. Hopefully, over the winter months, a number of the existing primulas will provide a bit of colour.

Sand on the promenade

Having cleared the western end of the promenade of sand and debris last week, we found that the eastern end was not so bad. What had been deposited there was returned to the beach.

Fallen tree

The previous Wednesday, we were busy at the western end of the park. So we are not sure when it occurred – but we see that a tree near the redundant outdoor education centre had blown over in the recent strong winds. We’ve reported this to the Council who will hopefully deal with it soon. The Council doesn’t allow our volunteers to use power tools in the park – something that we are working hard to change!

Marine life

A spectacular looking star fish was seen today – the largest one I have seen in one our beach. A man was trying to return it to the water without much success as the next wave beached it again. Not being an expert on marine life, I’m not sure if it is too late once it has been deposited on the beach – perhaps there is an expert out there who can let us know.

Last week we noted that something in the water near a groyne had taken the interest of a lady – she informed us it was a cuttlefish she had seen swimming, but when I got there hoping for a photo it had disappeared. We know they are about as it is not unusual to find the odd cuttlefish bone on the beach.

Get involved

If you would like to get some fresh air, meet people and make a difference, then come and join one of our volunteering groups.

Wednesday Volunteers – meet every Wednesday in Hamworthy Park, 9.30 am outside the park cafe. Just turn up!

Saturday Volunteers – we run a programme of Saturday volunteer events roughly once a month.

See our website or Facebook for further details. Or get in contact.

Sand on the Promenade

It’s been a week of high tides and winds! And as such, a great deal of sand and debris had been deposited on the promenade.

If it is left on the promenade, it builds up and can make life difficult for wheelchairs, pushchairs and young children on their scooters.

So, on Wednesday, two volunteers spent a couple of hours shovelling and sweeping it all back onto the beach. Unfortunately, we were unable to clear the whole of the prom as the amount of sand gradually took its toll on the elderly volunteers.

Fortunately, the Wednesday morning weather was very good and as we progressed, first coats were removed then cardigans! We concentrated our efforts on the worst areas and did manage to clear the stretch from the western end to the central footpath as can be seen in the before and after photos.

No doubt the volunteers will be back before winter is done!

 

Litter in the Park – June 2019 Update

litter in hamworthy park

You may remember that last year, litter was a big problem in the park over the summer months. And you’ll have seen it for yourself when using the park.

What’s the problem?

Last year, there was an increase in park use due to the warm weather, along with the Council’s policy of removing some bins while replacing others.

Fenced-in area

Of particular concern, all the bins were removed from the fenced-in paddling pool and play area. This area has a number of picnic benches and is heavily used by families visiting the paddling pool, eating picnics and playing on the play equipment.

It’s the one place in the park that really needs litter bins! Why? Because it is where the most litter is generated. Also, with all the bins being outside the fenced area, parents/carers feel uneasy about leaving children in this area unattended while they take litter outside to the bins. Equally, they are unhappy about letting children out to put litter in the bins themselves as they pass out of view.

The removal of these bins was supposed to reduce the amount of litter being dropped in the fenced-in area. However, it has resulted in an increase in litter, smashed glass and dirty nappies.

Car park bins

Also, the removal of a number of bins from around the car park has resulted in a noticeable increase in littering there. Again, this area has picnic benches and is heavily used – one of the places you that really needs bins.

These increases meant that FOHP litter picking volunteers were in the park 2 to 3 times more than normal last year – an unsustainable amount.

You can read about the issues from last year, here, and a follow up at the end of the season, here.

What’s been done?

This year FOHP have tried to get ahead of the curve with mixed results.

Discussion with the Council

In March, we sat down with the Council to discuss possible ways of reducing litter for the 2019 season.

Ideally, we want bins reinstated in the fenced of paddling pool and play area, and by the car park. We have been told previously that this will not happen.

In addition to this, our suggestions included:

  • Support from the Council litter team on bank holidays.
  • Temporary bins in strategic places in agreement with our volunteers, including by the western entrance to the paddling pool.
  • Signs in the paddling pool area to show where bins are positioned outside the gates.
  • High profile visits from the dog wardens

Of these suggestions, the Council agreed to place two temporary bins in the park – but like last year, they will not put both of them where our volunteers suggest.

Education

FOHP have been running litter picks with various nurseries and youth groups. This helps teach children the value of looking after our green spaces and hopefully, they’ll grow up to respect our open spaces. It also means more litter getting picked in the park.

Local community groups

In addition, we’ve had a number of local groups asking to pick litter in the park. Of course, we said yes! And thank you!

Next steps

We will be making our local Councillors aware of the issues as well as organising additional litter picks in the park over the summer months.

The issue of bins in the fenced off paddling pool and play area is a safety issue as much as a littering issue and needs to be addressed – ideally with the reinstatement of these bins.

News from the park – May

Watching the seasons

It was still the month of April when our first rose, pictured here, burst into life. It was very early in the season, but a welcome sight. And hopefully there are many more to come.

flowers hamworthy park
The roses must like what we feed them

A few days later it is now into May and as you can see quite a number of our spring flowering bulbs are still providing a bit of colour in the park.

These have lasted really well.

Another welcome visitor

Last week we had another of our occasional park visitors – a Little White Egret.

For some time now their numbers in this area have been on the increase since they first arrived from France and started breeding in the mid-nineties.

Little Egrets are easily recognised by their long black beak and legs with yellow webbed feet and upright stance.  This one was seen socialising with the resident seagulls at the eastern end of the park.

The power of the sea

The waters within Poole Harbour are generally considered to be relatively safe and not normally known for rough conditions.

Nevertheless, it must have taken some waves of considerable strength to wash up an item as heavy as this. A cast iron engine block complete with crankshaft that has recently appeared on the shoreline within the park.

Youngest Wednesday volunteer

Pictured here is Chloe – a regular member of our Wednesday volunteers. When it comes to litter picking, a four-year-old certainly has an advantage over most of her elderly colleagues.

She can get into places the others have no chance of reaching. Evidence of this is when she pulled out this old bicycle basket from the hedge bordering the railway, it must have been there some considerable time.

She also comes into her own when litter picking the shrubberies at the Branksea Avenue end.  At her low level she can spot litter others cannot see and she won’t give up until the offending bottle or can is in the firm grasp of her litter picker.

Get involved

If you would like to get some fresh air, meet people and make a difference, then come and join one of our volunteering groups.

Wednesday Volunteers – meet every Wednesday in Hamworthy Park, 10.00am outside the park cafe. Just turn up!

Saturday Volunteers – we run a programme of Saturday volunteer events roughly once a month.

See our website or Facebook for further details. Or get in contact.

Picking up glass on the beach

Glass reported on the beach

Following a report that a dog had suffered a bad cut on whilst on the beach, a glass pick was carried out by the Wednesday volunteers.

To be honest, searching out glass on the beach is akin to the needle in a haystack – nevertheless, twenty-four pieces of glass, pictured here, were found.

At least there are now twenty-four pieces less but there could be an awful lot more hidden amongst the sand and stones. Dog owners and parents, please take care.

Obviously, a regular beach glass pick would help reduce the problem but our band of Wednesday volunteers can only do so much.

Get involved

If you would like to make a difference in your community, come and join one of our volunteering groups.

Wednesday Volunteers – meet every Wednesday in Hamworthy Park, 10.00am outside the park cafe. Just turn up!

Saturday Volunteers – we run a programme of Saturday volunteer events roughly once a month.

See our website or Facebook for further details. Or get in contact.

Broken glass on the flood bank

WARNING – BROKEN GLASS

Last year, particularly in the dry summer months, the Friends were made aware that broken glass was becoming a potential hazard as it was constantly appearing on the surface along the top of the Western end flood bank.

What was done? 

A member of the Wednesday working party picked up a number of pieces but within a week or so more had appeared. The situation was constantly monitored and on another occasion 32 shards of glass were picked up.

We reported this to a Council Officer but we were told it was the responsibility of the Environment Agency – either way, nothing official has been done to solve the problem.

Reoccurring problem 

We have recently had another dry spell and it appears the problem has not gone away. This week twenty-one pieces of glass (see photo) had broken the surface and were picked up by a Wednesday Volunteer. 

As it seems likely that this will be an ongoing problem we wish to bring it to park users’ attention, particularly dog owners and possibly parents of younger children.

Wildflower update

Wildflower watch

It is only sixteen days since the wildflower turf was laid yet the first of the flowers believed to be red campion are now in bloom ( according to our wild flower book red campion is supposed to be pink). So let’s hope they are the first of many!

Wildflower care

We have been constantly watering this area as it is essential to keep the turf damp until the flowers become established.

Watch this space for more updates as we have them.

Wild flower area – Hamworthy Park

FOHP, together with a local school and Dorset Wildlife Trust,  have recently put in a new wild flower area in Hamworthy Park.

Previous attempts

After months of trying to get written permission from the council, it was finally agreed about six weeks ago that the Friends could experiment with a wildflower area located behind the Western end flood bank. A wildflower area had been tried by the council some years ago. This was behind the Eastern flood bank but it failed.

A new approach

In an effort to be more successful, we decided to consult the experts. So contact was made with Kew Gardens, Dorset Wildlife Trust and some specialist wildflower seed suppliers.  The main reason for the previous failure, apparently, was inadequate preparation and the location.  It is essential that all existing turf is removed and the patch dug over – removing as many weed roots as possible.  The soil level is then restored using poor quality top soil. Wildflowers grow best in poor soil and it is important not to apply any fertilizer. This is because in fertile soils, grasses and weeds tend to swamp the less competitive wildflowers.

The previous location was adjacent to a hedgerow. This was attractive to nesting birds and sowing seeds there was just like setting up a picnic table for them, so the experts said.

Pre-sown turf

Although it is more expensive, experts advised that the best chance of success would be to use a pre-sown turf of perennial flowers – but sow annual wildflower seed around the perimeter.  A suitable turf was ordered from a specialist nursery near Basingstoke and collection arranged for the 1st April.  The landscape turf we ordered contains up to 31 different perennial wildflower species and two non-invasive grasses.

Getting started

A few weeks ago, as many park users have noticed, an area was marked out and the FOHP volunteers got stuck in removing the turf. This turf was made use of to infill numerous holes in the grass throughout the park -probably the most strenuous bit of the project – pushing well laden wheelbarrows as far as the Eastern end! The area was dug over and bucket after bucket load of poor garden soil was delivered to the park by ‘the Paddling Pool Van’.

Twin sails help

Laura Clark, who runs the gardening club at Twin Sails Infant School, had previously asked if there was anything the children could help with in the park – we thought this would be an ideal project to involve them with.

The soil must be watered to saturation point two days before laying. But as we had had no appreciable rainfall for the previous three weeks, many gallons of water were transported to the park over the weekend and the turf was collected on the Monday.

The big day

On Tuesday morning another watering was carried out and in the afternoon the children, Molly, Adam and Max, accompanied by Laura Clark and Mrs Henstridge, met us in the park – after a quick rake over, laying commenced.  Katie Wilkinson from Dorset Wildlife Trust  also joined us as this project fits in well with their ‘Get Dorset Buzzing’ campaign which is aimed at saving pollinating insects.  The FOHP volunteers were almost made redundant as the children got stuck in rolling out the turf and bedding it in.  It then received another thorough watering. I think Max thought my shoes were a bit grubby so he watered them as well!  Attention was then turned to the surrounds.  These were raked over then, using homemade applicators (a small plant pot with most of its drain holes blanked off), wildflower seed premixed with fine sand so we could see where it was going was applied to the remaining exposed soil.

They then gently raked that area over. The accompanying photos show the children hard at work and what a good job they did – Thank you Molly, Adam and Max.

Wednesday volunteers – Nuts, bolts and snowdrops

Nuts and bolts

The Wednesday volunteers are getting quite used to picking up unusual litter. But why would anyone take the trouble to bring this tray full of new nuts, bolts and washers to the park then throw them into a bed of shrubs?

They had not been there long and there had been no maintenance work in that area that we know about for some years. We would love to know the story behind them!

Snowdrops

Snowdrops can be a bit temperamental, they either like a location or they don’t. If they decide they like a place they will thrive. Over a few years, they will multiply providing a wonderful display in our more dismal months giving some hope of better days to come.

Last year, with that in mind, at various locations in the park we planted a number of snowdrop bulbs in the green – a term used particularly with snowdrops when transplanting just after flowering before their leaves start to wither. Since early January, the volunteers have been keeping a careful watch for any signs of flowers. We had all but given up hope, when suddenly, in early February, the first signs of life appeared as seen in the photo.

So if you are enjoying a walk in the park keep your eyes open. If you see any more please let us know as we are still not convinced they like it here – let’s wait and see.

We will be planting more snowdrops later in the spring as we have been promised a further donation of bulbs.

The Paddling Pool

Those taking a walk in the park recently can hardly have failed to notice that a start has been made on what the Friends and much of the local community have been dreaming about for some considerable time, A NEW PADDLING POOL.

There has been good progress with the old base being broken up and removed. There was a bit of trouble breaking up the base of the original 1931 pool underneath.  Being of 1930s quality workmanship the steel rods had been welded at the crossing points making it harder going than anticipated. With that removed, the pilings are now being driven in to provide a firm base for the concrete slab.

 

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for good weather and an easy, problem free build. The time for celebration is when we see our children and grandchildren enjoying themselves in the new paddling pool in the sunshine!

We are keeping track of the renovations on Facebook so check in there for more information.

Planters around Hamworthy

As we reported earlier in the year, FOHP volunteers have been looking after the large planters in various spots all over Hamworthy. Here they are adding a welcome splash of colour to the mix of plants and shrubs.

On February 9th, 10.00am, we will be doing a spot of gardening in the beds outside McCalls and Boots – getting them up and running ready for the spring!

If you fancy putting your green fingers to good use, come and join us. You can find more details here.